The Cardinals kept the second half ball rolling Friday using much of the same formula they relied on the night before to beat the Dodgers.
St. Louis scored early and kept up the pressure to improve to 2-0 since the All-Star break. The only element that was missing in the 8-4 win was the dominant pitching Chris Carpenter provided the night before. Rookie starter Jaime Garcia struggled in the oppressive heat and retired after only 3 1/3 innings pitched with eight hits and a walk allowed. But the Birds' hurlers were good enough to hold the fort.
Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo waves home left fielder Matt Holliday in the first inning Friday against the Dodgers. AP photo.
Colby Rasmus singled with one out in the first and Matt Holliday walked with a pair gone. They both scored when outfielder Randy Winn tripled, Yadier Molina, helpless a week ago but suddenly hot at the plate, got a base hit to give St. Louis a 3-0 lead after one frame.
The Cardinals scored a run in the second when Felipe Lopez singled home Skip Schumaker to make it 4-0 before the Dodgers got up off the mat in the top of the third with a pair of runs. But the Redbirds answered immediately with a run in the third and another in the fourth to pad the lead.
Unfortunately, things got too close for comfort in the late innings when Jason Motte walked in a run to make the game 8-3 and put the tying run in the on deck circle. But the Birds eventually wiggled off the hook to keep pace with the Reds who beat Colorado.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Randy Winn was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Winn's first inning triple.
Lowlight: Motte, who has taken on an increased role as a late innings righty as of late, struggled terribly. He gave up two hits and two walks while surrendering two runs in 2/3 of an inning pitched. It could have been worse when Motte nearly hit a Dodgers batter with the bases loaded to force in a third run.